A representative for nearly 8,000 Vietnamese fishers suing Formosa Plastics Group (FPG) for marine pollution yesterday said they would fight a Taipei District Court decision to dismiss the case.
Vietnamese-Australian priest Peter Nguyen, who is representing the Vietnamese fishers, told a news conference in Taipei that the district court had accepted NT$1.2 million (US$39,234) in payment for the case, but on Wednesday dismissed the suit on grounds that it had no jurisdiction over it.
While FPG had settled with the Vietnamese government over the 2016 pollution incident involving its member, Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp, the fishers whose livelihoods were the most affected had not received any money, Nguyen said.
Photo: Liu Li-jen, Taipei Times
The conglomerate paid the Vietnamese government US$500 million after admitting that its dumping of toxic waste into the sea caused ecological damage to 250km of the Vietnamese coastline.
After efforts to take the group to court in Vietnam met with government intervention, the fishers brought their case to Taiwan , hoping to receive justice, Nguyen said.
Nguyen is currently working at the Vietnamese Migrant and Immigrant Office, which he founded, in Taoyuan’s Bade District (八德).
The office is under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hsinchu County.
Many had helped the plaintiffs raise the money for the case to be heard and processed by the Taipei District Court, which they considered their last recourse for justice, Nguyen said.
The court’s dismissal of the case, citing lack of jurisdiction, has shattered that hope, he said, but added that he hoped the court would reconsider and uphold humanitarian values and Taiwan’s reputation of abiding by the rule of law.
The case has drawn significant international attention and the court’s decision is severely flawed, as it did not even consider the claims of both parties before dismissing the case, Environmental Jurists Association chairmann Chang Yu-yin (張譽尹) said.
The 40th annual congress of the International Federation for Human Rights, which is being held in Taipei from Monday to today, has supported the appeal, Chang said.
As Formosa Ha Tinh Steel is a member of the conglomerate, the lawsuit does concern Taiwan, Environmental Rights Foundation lawyer Huang Hsin-wen (黃馨雯) said..
The decision to dismiss the case without having heard the claims of both parties contravenes the spirit of the adversarial system, which, under Taiwanese law, is the go-to system for civil cases that are not under exclusive jurisdiction, Huang said.
Taiwanese courts are judicially obligated to accept the case, as a Taiwanese company had polluted the environment in a foreign country, foundation chairman Lin San-chia (林三加) said.
The plaintiff’s choice to believe in the Taiwanese judiciary should be respected, Lin said.
The 2016 pollution incident was a classic case of corporate oversight of human rights, Taiwan Association for Human Rights member Yu Yi-chia (余宜家) said.
The UN has stated that nations must take necessary steps to prevent international corporations from violating the human rights of residents in the foreign nation which they have invested, Covenants Watch convener Huang Song-lih (黃嵩立) said.
AGGRESSION: China’s latest intrusions set a new benchmark for its ‘gray zone’ tactics and possibly a new pattern that it would attempt to normalize, a researcher said China’s latest military exercises represent a new challenge to Taiwan’s legal authority to demarcate its borders in the Taiwan Strait, a defense expert said, adding that the fleets in the latest exercises were likely the most powerful the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) ever assembled. The PLA conducted military exercises from Sunday last week to 6am on Friday, which encompassed large swathes of the western Pacific, including the Taiwan Strait and waters off the Philippines and Guam, National Policy Foundation associate research fellow Chieh Chung (揭仲) said on Friday. The Ministry of National Defense said that it detected 70 warship and 162 aircraft
DOMESTIC MARKET: To protect the livelihoods of local egg farmers, the government adopted a new method for releasing imported eggs, the agriculture minister said More than 54 million imported eggs will be disposed, as their expiration date has passed, Minister of Agriculture Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said yesterday. Chen made the remarks at a news conference in Taipei, explaining the flow of imported eggs following recent controversies regarding the products. The ministry introduced a special egg import program to address a nationwide egg shortage earlier this year. However, controversies have risen in recent weeks. These included an accusation that the government helped some egg importing companies over others, eggs imported from Brazil that had an incorrect expiration date, and egg shipments from Brazil that were found
PACIFIC OCEAN: Defense experts have warned that the ‘Shandong,’ China’s second largest aircraft carrier, poses a serious threat to eastern Taiwan’s defenses The drills conducted by the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong in the Western Pacific last week were more aimed at showcasing China’s military capabilities to the US rather than toward Taiwan, a Taiwanese defense expert said yesterday. Lin Yin-yu (林穎佑), an assistant professor at Tamkang University’s Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies, said the drills which involved dozens of warplanes sought to test China’s anti-access and area denial capabilities should the US and its allies attempt to interfere in a cross-strait conflict. Lin said that the latest Chinese drills coincided with a joint maritime exercise conducted by the US, South Korea
Thousands of bottles of Sriracha have been returned or destroyed after the discovery of excessive sulfur dioxide, a bleaching agent, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Tuesday. About 12,600 bottles totaling 9,991.8kg of the hot sauce imported from the US by Emporium Corp (河洛企業) were flagged at the border for containing illegal levels of sulfur dioxide, the FDA said in its regular border inspection announcement. Inspectors discovered 0.5g per kilogram of the common bleaching agent and preservative, higher than the 0.03g permitted, it said. As it is the first time within six months the product has been flagged, Sriracha products from